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Top 5 Famous Toronto Victories vs Chicago

View from the famous Chicago Millennium Park

View from the famous Chicago Millennium Park

In honour of my recent visit to the windy city, I decided to compile a list of famous victories that Toronto teams have scored over their brethren to the midwest. These two cities have never really had a rivalry, but there’s been some very interesting moments between them. Let’s take a look.

#5. Toronto Maple Leafs vs Chicago Blackhawks – 1983 Regular Season 

This one was a bit of a stretch, but the big game history between Toronto and Chicago is surprisingly thin. However, this game happened to be a record-setter – the five fastest goals scored between two teams (1 minute 24 seconds). Now, imagine the momentum swings in that one. 5 goals in 84 seconds! The scoring started late in the second period when Toronto’s Gaston Gingers scored at the 16:49 mark. Chicago would reply with 3 goals in 30 seconds before the Leafs John Anderson replied 31 seconds later.

That wasn’t the end of the scoring either. The Leafs would go on to win the game 10-8 in one of the most bizarre momentum-changing games in Leafs history. There’s really nothing else to note of that season as the Leafs were mired in a 16 year Stanley Cup drought in the forgettable decade that was the 80s.

Ok, on to the good stuff.

#4. Toronto Maple Leafs vs Chicago Blackhawks – 1993-94 Game 6 Conference Quarter Finals

The Leafs had opened the season with 10 straight victories continuing their momentum from a breakout 1992-93 season where they were one game away from the Stanley Cup Finals. However, a tumultuous season was ahead capped by another frenetic playoff run. In the 1992-93 season, the Leafs defeated the Red Wings in the first round in one of the most memorable playoff series in Leafs history (click to get chills – “oh unbelievable”). However, you’ll be hard pressed to find many Leafs fans that remember the first round series in the 1993-94 season.

The Leafs were heavily favoured against the Blackhawks and promptly won the first two games of the series at home. However, the Blackhawks fought back to tie the series in Chicago that included a heart-breaking overtime win in Game 4. The Leafs returned home needing a win in Game 5 if they had any plans on repeating their playoff success from last season. Felix Potvin came up big once again and the Leafs held on to win 1-0 in a hard-fought affair with Mike Eastwood scoring the only goal. The Leafs would go back to Chicago and finish the series in six games backed by the 3rd 1-0 shutout win of the series.

The Leafs playoff push continued on with an incredible seven game series against the young San Jose Sharks. The Leafs completed a heroic comeback in Game 6 in San Jose and returned home to win it in 7. The Leafs were heavily favoured to reach the Stanley Cup Finals and took Game 1 of the Conference Finals against the Canucks. However, they’d drop the next four to continue their Stanley Cup drought.

#3. Toronto Blue Jays vs Chicago White Sox – 1993 ALCS Game 5

The Jays had taken a commanding 2-0 lead in the ALCS after winning both games in Chicago, but momentum had completely shifted when the White Sox took games 3 and 4 to tie the series 2-2. Game 5 would also take place in Toronto because of the 2-3-2 format making it a must-win for the Blue Jays before heading back to Chicago for Games 6 and 7.

The Jays turned to ace Juan Guzman who like in Game 1 did not disappoint. Guzman went seven strong innings and gave up only one run before turning it over to the bullpen to close it out. On the other side, White Sox ace Jack Mcdowell was pinged for 3 runs and never made it out of the 3rd inning. The White Sox bullpen helped stop the bleeding, but it wasn’t enough to keep Chicago in the game. In the 9th the Jays turned to closer Duane Ward who promptly gave up a 2-run shot to Robin Ventura to make it a 5-3 game. Ward recovered and struck out Bo Jackson to close out a famous Game 5 victory for the Jays.

The Jays regained momentum in the series and headed to Chicago for Game 6 where Dave Stewart threw another solid game and the Jays used a 3-run ninth to add a little breathing room to their slim 1-run lead. The Jays would win Game 6 and the series and eventually their second World Series in as many years.

#2. Chicago Blackhawks vs Toronto Maple Leafs – 1962 Stanley Cup Finals Game 6

It had been 11 years since the Maple Leafs had won a Stanley Cup and the infamous “Bill Barilko” curse was on everyone’s mind. Barilko famously scored the winning goal in the 1951 Stanley Cup against the Montreal Canadians. That would be the last goal he would ever score as later that summer Barilko mysteriously disappeared while on a fishing trip. The curse stated that the Leafs wouldn’t win another cup until the remains of Barilko were found.

In 1962 the Leafs returned to the Stanley Cup final against the defending champion Blackhawks. Led by famous names Frank Mahovlich, Red Kelly, and Tim Horton the Leafs would win the series in six games after nearly blowing an early 2-0 lead in the series. Tim Horton assisted on the game-winning goal setting up Dick Duff after an incredible end-to-end rush. The Leafs would go on to win 2-1 and lift the Cup for the first time in 11 years. Three weeks later the remains of Bill Barilko and the plane wreckage were found.

Perhaps the curse was transferred to the Blackhawks who wouldn’t win another Stanley Cup until last season – a drought of 48 years.

#1. Toronto Raptors vs Chicago Bulls – March 24, 1996

It was the Raptors inaugural season and the Chicago Bulls were the best team in basketball. The Raptors were mired in the struggles that all rookie franchises encounter finishing the season at 21-61. However, on March 24, 1996 the Raptors would score one of the biggest victories in Toronto sports history.

The Bulls were led by Michael Jordan and would eventually finish the season with an NBA-best 72-10 record. One of those losses would come to the expansion Raptors in a thrilling 109-108 victory where Jordan’s last second shot was waved off as he released it after the buzzer. The video does more justice than my words ever could and the fans at the Skydome that day were fantastic.

It’s somewhat fitting that the most memorable victory came in a Little Giants kind of way. It’s rather poetic don’t ya think?

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  1. June 27, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    Which game of the ’93 ALCS was it where the Sox had bases loaded, nobody out and the Jays got out of it? Was definitely a daytime game in Chicago but I still remember that one.

    • June 27, 2011 at 1:09 PM

      Oh man…my memories of that series are extremely vague these days. I went to Game 5 of the series and barely remember it. I also went to a World Series game against Atlanta and have no memories of it. It’s a shame we were so young when this city actually experienced some winning.

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